Joseph A. Biedenharn, owner of the Vicksburg Biedenharn Candy Company in Mississippi, made a significant, world changing decision in 1894. He wanted his customers located outside of the downtown area of Vicksburg to be able to have a Coca-Cola. Biedenharn had Herman, his brother, put Coca-Cola into the company branded bottles. In doing so, the Biedenharn Candy Company became the first company to bottle the Coca-Cola drink. Coca-Cola today is sold on over two hundred countries across the world.
Under Joseph Biedenharn’s leadership, his family established plants throughout the southern United States, including plants in Arkansas, Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana. The Biedenharn Company eventually became the country’s ninth largest bottling corporation. However, Biedenharn wasn’t just known for this accomplishment of bottling the increasingly popular drink of Coca-Cola. He was also a significant part of the Monroe community during the early part of the twentieth century, eventually being elected as the City Commissioner. During his time as City Commissioner, Biedenharn was responsible for Monroe’s first paved streets, and assisted in transforming the community’s Forsythe Park into the park it is today.
The Biedenharn Museum and Gardens offers guests a glimpse into one of the world’s most interesting museums focused on Coca-Cola. The museum contains several rooms filled with Coca-Cola related memorabilia, including the first truck that delivered Coca-Cola. This truck was used by the Biedenharn Candy Company to deliver its bottles filled with Coca-Cola during the 1890’s. The museum is an interesting and exciting place to explore with several different activities, such as special exhibits, guided tours, concerts, programs for children, and much more.
Visitors enter the Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum through its expansive glass display room. Inside this large room, guests can see many different interesting objects, including antique signs and the first Coca-Cola delivery truck. Visitors can buy their tickets from the Museum Store and then start their tour of the Coca-Cola Museum. At part of the tour of the Coke Museum, guests will view a short film, see a wide collection of memorabilia associated with Coca-Cola, and “visit” a vintage soda fountain replica.
Near the Biedenharn Museum filled with Coca-Cola memorabilia is the historic home of the Biedenharn family. Visitors are welcome to play the large grand piano situated inside the home during a tour of the historic house, and are even invited to bring their own sheet music. Behind the Biedenharn home, guests can explore the beautiful walled gardens that Emy-Lou worked hard to develop during much of her life. The Louisiana, English-inspired garden consists of beautiful fountains, statues, and flowering plants numbering in the thousands. There’s also a conservatory situated within the gardens.
Groups are welcome to come and explore the Biedenharn Museum and Gardens as part of a group tour. The facility of the museum is filled with fun and interesting various collections, as well as stories to share. Along with the museum’s regular guided tours, tours can also be customized to better meet the needs of groups wanting to visit the Biedenharn Museum and Gardens.
2000 Riverside Drive, Monroe, LA, Phone: 318-387-5281
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